Monday, September 15, 2014

More travels on the Coast..........

Just to be with the Pacific Ocean, north and south.  The strange knarled trees right out of Tolkien that line the edge of the world at Casper.  I notice that I always seem to find them as entranceways to somewhere else, perhaps some strange door to the world of Faery............

When I emerged to the overlook of Jughandle Beach, I was just in time to see a wedding in progress, just in time, in fact, to snap "the kiss".

This solitary  tree, clinging so tenatiously to the edge of the cliff, is an old friend of mine.

And here is South, way south of Casper, at La Jolla down by San Diego.  I am eternally fascinated by pelicans, graceless birds on land, but when they fly they are as precise and elegant as any air show imaginable.  Might like to come back as a pelican next lifetime, living above the ocean and fishing when I'm not preening my wings.  Seems very pleasurable.

Not to mention the seals, basking in the sun when they're not barking at each other.  Swimming dogs, fascinating to watch them play with each other in the water.

And schools of brightly colored  rainbow kayaks, ignored by the bored looking pelicans.

It's been so healing to be on the ocean, to visit Mother Ocean.  Thank you and great praise, Yemaya.

One last hibiscus...........................

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Venus Synchronicities.........

"Venus" by Lorraine Capparell 
I'm still here in California. And strangely, I seem to be in the middle of a Syncronicity Cluster based on the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite/Venus.  

I think, when this kind of thing keeps going on, one must pay attention.  

I received a notice from artist Lorraine Capparell  about her beautiful sculpture (above) Venus.  Oddly, I used another of her sculptures to illustrate the previous entry. 

I received a day later an order for an Aphrodite mask.  And a notice about a Circle Work workshop with Jalaja Bonheim, who wrote Aphrodite's Daughters, a wonderful book I revisited a few weeks ago when visiting my friend Joanne, who had it on her kitchen table because she is doing research with the book. (I also posted about her a month or so back)

 Then I received a notice about an Aphrodite Workshop occurring this coming weekend, sponsored by two women I know from Reclaiming - one is an acquaintance, Laurie Lovecraft (an appropriate name for a priestess of the Goddess of Love).  I'm tempted to brave the truly horrendous L.A. traffic to attend - Laurie and Tami's description of working with the heart to open the path to creativity, and to create  just the healing affirmation I may need.

And how terribly wounded Aphrodite is in our world.  As I write this, I reflect on how, a few days ago, I was lying on the bed in a motel room, flipping through the TV channels.  There were no less than 5 programs within that hour about young women, girlfriends,  wives  and an exotic dancer murdered by men.  A stranger from another culture would think that raping and killing young women was the national sport. 

In fact, now that I think about it, the need to destroy Aphrodite in every way is at the very heart of patriarchal culture.  Because a culture that values love, beauty, and a culture that would not be able to make war, or guns, because it would be a culture with great reverence for life.

Well, let's see how this unfolds..............

Aphrodite Awakening ~ 2-Day Workshop
Saturday, Sept. 13
Sunday, Sept. 14
1:00 – 5:00 pm (both days)
The Green Man Store
5712 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
$100 for 2 day workshop
Taught by Laurie Lovekraft & Urania
Step into Aphrodite’s grove for a 2-day intensive to connect with Her energy of love, pleasure, beauty, healing and sacred creativity. Greek Goddess Aphrodite arose from the foam of the elemental waters and is a later incarnation of Astarte and Inanna. Her majestic qualities can grant self-acceptance and supreme self-love. Aphrodite can help you embrace your creative identity uninhabited by fear, leading to increased vitality, magnetism, and confidence!
In a loving community of support (women and men welcome!) Aphrodite will be our guide to explore Her power and potency through ritual, trance, energy work, communication, journaling, and art. And… join us Saturday night for a Rite of Aphrodite at the Green Man Store! Details below…
“Hail Aphrodite! Sea-born queen with eyes cerulean bright. Come, all-attractive, to our prayer inclined, for thee we call, with holy, reverent mind.”
This workshop is open to all participants regardless of magical experience. However we will not be spending time teaching basic magical skills, so participants should have basic skills such as grounding and individual ritual skills. If you are unsure whether this class is for you, please contact the teachers

Rite of Aphrodite ~ Community Ritual

Saturday, Sept. 13
7:30 Doors Open
8:00 Ritual Begins
The Green Man Store
5712 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
$10 – $20 (sliding scale)
Women & Men welcome!
Join us for a rousing community ritual to celebrate the Greek Goddess Aphrodite and receive her luminous blessings! Through prayer, song, and offerings we will honor the gold-crowned Great Goddess of love, grace and pleasure.
“Mighty Aphrodite, come into our hearts so that we might adore thee and get to know thee better. Watch over us as we go about our mortal days and help us to realize our potential as beautiful, creative beings!”
In Greek mythology, Aphrodite is the goddess of love, beauty, gracefulness and sexual rapture. She was depicted as a beautiful woman usually accompanied by the winged gosling Eros (Love); Her attributes included a dove, apple, scallop shell and mirror. According to Hesiod and the Homeric hymn onAphrodite, the goddess – after rising from the foam – first approached the island of Cythera, and thence went to Cyprus. As She was walking on the sea coast, flowers sprang up under her feet, and Eros and Himeros accompanied her to the assembly of the other great gods, all of whom were struck with admiration and love when Aphrodite appeared.
The early worship of Aphrodite was of eastern origin, likely introduced from Syria to the islands of Cyprus, Cythera, and others, from whence it spread all over Greece. Aphrodite was brought into Syria from Assyria and appears to have been originally identified with Astarte (known to the Hebrews as Ashtoreth).
  • Please bring an offering to Aphrodite (a flower, sea shell, something sweet, etc.)
  • A community potluck will follow the ritual, bring food and drink to share, as well as a plate, cup and utensils
  • The Rite of Aphrodite will be paired with the Aphrodite Awakening 2-Day Workshop at the Green Man Store on Saturday, September 13 & Sunday, September 14. Participation in the workshop is encouraged but not required.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Telling the World With the Stories We Tell

"Story Teller"  by Lorraine Capparell

Lately I've felt at a loss for words.  So I felt like pulling up some worthy words by a few people I admire about how to manage life, art, and creating reality.  Spider Woman in Pueblo traditions is also called "Thought Woman", because she makes the world with the stories she tells about the world.   So do we...........

Spider and Cross, prehistoric Mississippian Culture ornament

"God needs us as much as we need God.  We need God because we are God's stories.  God needs us because we are God's way to make new kinds of stories."
David R. Loy, "The World is Made of Stories" 

 People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons.  From within. ”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

"Progress might have been alright once upon a time, but it has gone on for too long."
---Ogden Nash

"Stories are not abstractions from life but how we engage with it.  We make stories and those stories make us human.  We awaken into stories as we awaken into language, which is there before and after us.  The question is not so much "What do I learn from stories" as "What stories do I want to live?"   Insofar as I'm non-dual with my narratives, that question is just as much, 
"What stories want to come to life through me?"
David R. Loy, "The World is Made of Stories" 
"As you read a book word by word and page by page, you participate in its creation, just as a cellist playing a Bach suite participates, note by note, in the creation, the coming-to-be, the existence, of the music. And, as you read and re-read, the book of course participates in the creation of you, your thoughts and feelings, the size and temper of your soul.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

"Our job was not to just re-tell the ancient  myths, but to re-invent them for today.  Artists are the myth makers."
Katherine Josten, The Global Art Project
"With every passing hour our solar system comes 43 thousand miles closer to Globular Cluster M13 in the Constellation of Hercules. And still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress."
---Ransom K. Ferm

"What's a day without a good rationalization?"
---Fred (Bartender at the Crystal Korner Bar, Madison, Wisconsin)

Crop Circle, Wiltshire,England, 2009

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A very Old Ocean Poem............

I found this  a while back, a poem I wrote when I was just 18.  I'm surprised at how it still rings true for me.  


Think of this song
this song in you
     what is it?
What is this music you are,
     think of this song in you

standing at the mouth
     mouth of the ocean at dark
into the darkness this song
     the ocean makes

this song 
it passes you, through you
it is not your own

you are a part of it

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Travels on the Coast (2)

I am tired, I confess.  I am also, apparently, a homing pidgion.  

Driving north from San Diego, I was depressed by the terrible dryness of inland California, the drought evident everywhere. In fact, the right word would be sorrow, and a low, humming, underlying terror.  This is global warming, surely, this devestation of my homeland, this terrible drought.  So much is changing now.  

I didn’t want to complicate my state of mind by traffic in the Bay Area, so I attempted to bypass the whole mess in San Jose, only to become confused, and find myself headed straight for Berkeley during rush hour.  Naturally, I had to get off and get a coffee at Café Med on Telegraph.

Telegraph looked seedy and depressed, the Med was much as I remembered it, but dirtier, and yet, not the same at all because 40 years is a really long time.  All my friends are memories sitting at those marbletop tables, and memories, in the end, are poor companions.  Does anyone remember People’s Park, or Moe of Moe’s Books, or  the street artists of Telegraph?  I saw my first husband, Paul, sitting vividly in my imagination at the table at the top of the stairs with his camera bag, and his dogeared  notebook………but who knows where, or who, he is now.  This becomes a metaphysical exercise if I think about it too long...........
I left to begin the ordeal of nearly 2 hours trying to get out of the Bay Area.  

At last I found myself in Vallejo, and headed toward Napa, the Wine Country reviving my spirit, and found myself, homing pidgin again, on the road to Middletown and Harbin Hot Springs.  Lots of memories there as well, the Ancient Ways Gathering in the valley campground, and dreams, even a very  prophetic dream*  I had in 1999.  For all it’s being crowded,   it’s still a healing place, a place that would be favored by Sulis, Goddess of the waters and of the fires..

Walking heavily in my bathing suit, a little lame from a decade ago injury, short of breath, I try to remember the lithe woman I was 20  years ago.  I  suppose the many nudists here look at me in my bathing suit  (with a skirt yet) like a dinosaur emerging from the 1950’s.  Fine with me, in my old age, I like both bathing suits and nightgowns.   

The waters worked their magic, and I had the little heart shaped  pool to myself all morning (fear of old ladies in bathing suits with skirts?)  Hey, wish it would work  in parking lots as well.   I hope I am becoming, as Clarissa Pinkola Estes termed it, “a dangerous old woman”. Yes!  

I floated on my back, allowing the water to take me where it will.  And with a view of the sky, tree tops, birds and bees above me, just as the previous night I saw a vast ceiling of stars glittering between dark branches, so I floated away a stress and sadness.  As I let go of “direction”, the currents floated me around the pool, , occasionally bumping into the sides, different views, sometimes returning to the same sky view but with a different slant of sunlight, a different bird, a new cloud making itself.  Until finally I came to  stillness in the center of the pool.  

And somehow, I felt that my question, “what do I do now?”  had been answered.  If indeed I had a question.  Or perhaps the question and the answer both occurred in the process of floating.  Let go, the Circle is always there, the truth is viewed from all sides, and ultimately, we all return to the Center.  Trust.

I am a great devotee of hot springs, of the generous Numina who keep the hot waters for all of us.  I don’t dream much anymore, but  I did  dream last night.  Hotsprings, I have noticed, are great places for dreaming,.  I was buying a green dress, and it had a beautiful, layered, billowing skirt down to the ankles.  I felt that I “couldn’t pass it up” as it was “only $45.00”.  But I wasn’t sure I could fit into it, it would need some adjustment, and I hadn’t had a chance to try it on before I woke up.  A good color, the color of healing, of  the Fey, of  the green growing Earth, a good dress to try on now. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Travels on the Coast (1)

"Dragon Tree Deva" (2014)

The Botanical Garden at Carlsbad

(with many thanks to my friend Joanne for taking me there).............and I find very, very sexy flowers, Agaves with Attitude, and quite a few emergent Devas of the Garden........... 

The whole portfolio of images is available as a slide show at:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Corn Mother Mask

"Indigenous people have always known corn metaphorically in two or more of the four senses, mother, enabler, transformer, healer; that I use throughout this weaving.  Although early European settlers took the grain only, there is evidence in America today that the Corn-Mother has taken barriers of culture and language in stride and intimated her spirit to those who will listen, even if they don't know her story or call her by name." 

Marilou Awiakta

"Native American Indian legends tell of The Corn Mother sacrificing herself so that her people could have life. According to her instructions, in one legend, she was to be killed, her dead body dismembered, strun among the fields and planted.  In harvest ceremony after harvest ceremony the last sheaf of corn was gathered together and dressed in women’s clothing.  This Corn Mother doll was referred to as The Old Woman, The Old Grandmother, Old Wife or even The Great Mother. To assure a plentiful harvest The Old Corn Mother was given to a family for safe keeping until the next growing season began and the cycle of birth, growth, death and rebirth continued. As I looked further into what I had learned about the archetype of the old woman, I realized that the power of the “Old Woman” is her ability to embrace change, her willingness to give birth to her Old Self, to make friends with her death and trust in rebirth."

Sondra Fields

Painting Courtesy
I recently made a new Corn Mother mask, which I'm taking with me on my travels (my brother's funeral in California, then a trip up the coast).  She wanted to come with me, and I will be taking the masks to show my friends Mana and Annie in Willits, to receive a blessing for it.  The story of the previous Corn Mother mask was quite wonderful, and although I've shared it before, I felt like re-posting it here.  Corn Mother is the Sustainer of the Americas, sacred in virtually all native American traditions.  I hope this mask will find many new Dancers to share Her ever evolving stories.

"And where corn is the Corn-Mother is also.‘This thing they call corn is I
Marilou Awiakta

Corn Mother has many names, and among the Cherokee she is called "Selu".  

The story is that Selu fed her family with delicious grain, but no one knew where it came from.  Finally her sons saw her shaking corn from her body, discovering her secret.  They had witnessed a mystery they could not understand. Being young, fearful, and ignorant, they resolved to kill their mother, calling her a witch, and  making disasterous assumptions about her power. Knowing she could not  give them wisdom, nor teach them the ways of nature, Selu tells them to  bury her body in the earth, and thus  is born again each year to nourish her children.  Selu does not punish - In loving generosity, She offers her children a chance to return to good relationship.  

My own relationship with Selu began in 2002.  

I had given masks to choreographer Manna Youngbear to work with, and had been gone all winter.  I didn't know what her program was going to be, and I looked forward to attending the performance. 

Several weeks before her event, I attended an unrelated event at the Ritual Center in Oakland, founded by Matthew Fox.   As I sat on the floor during a lengthy meditation led by a woman minister , I found myself absorbed by a vision. When I closed my eyes I saw a Native American woman dancing. I opened my eyes, and closed my eyes again, and still she danced in my imagination, ears of multi-colored corn in her hands.  It was so clear that when I returned to my studio, I made a mask with corn on each side of the face. 

I had been reading about Black Elk, the great Lakota teacher. As a young boy, he foresaw the destruction of his people, what he called the "hoop" of the Lakota nation. But he also prophesied a "hoop of the nations": a great circle, composed of many interlocking circles, that would someday come to be. A Rainbow Tribe. I painted a rainbow on the mask's forehead, because the children of America are now of all colors. 

"When I held up an ear of calico corn" Cherokee poet Marilou Awiakta wrote, "we would think about this wisdom of the Corn Mother. How the different kernels are ranged around the cob, no one more important than the other. How each kernel respects the space of those on either side, yet remains itself - red, black, white, yellow or combinations of those colors. How the Corn-Mother, in Her physical being, exemplifies unity in diversity." 

Just before her performance, I learned there was one dancer in Manna's cast who had no mask, Christy, who felt inspired to dance Green Corn Woman. Now it seemed she had her mask.  Here is the story Christy told me when we finally met, and the new mask was delivered.
Cornmother's Gift
by Christy Salo

I made a bouquet of corn for Manna's wedding, with a necklace of rainbow beads I bought at a garage sale. I later used this same bouquet I to dance Green Corn Woman. Manna is part Cherokee, and when she cast her show, she asked if I wanted to dance Corn Mother. We didn't have a mask for her, but I was inspired to dance anyway. 

I knew very little about the Native American Corn Mother, about Selu, who is Cornmother to the Cherokee.  I planned on doing some research. Along the way, I remember stopping at a used bookstore. Opening a rather esoteric book at random, I discovered I was looking at an article about the Corn Maiden. I was further stunned to find it illustrated by Vera Louise Drysdale. Vera was my friend, years ago, when I lived in Sedona.

And so, without any further urging, I was ready to begin. The feeling of familiarity continued as I created a costume. I was looking for materials I would need, and within a few days, Manna left a message. "Christy" she said, "There is a Hopi woman visiting Isis Oasis Retreat Center, and you need to meet her! She gave me some 300 year old corn meal to give to you!"

Once again, I felt Selu encouraging me! I thought about what She meant to me personally. To me, Selu is about the wealth that comes from the work of forgiveness. How can we be fed and sustained, how can we create peace, if we cannot practice the lessons of forgiveness, if we cannot learn tolerance and compassion for our differences? That is the beginning place for the cooperation we will need in order to evolve into a global family. In America, we have mixed bloodlines, "rainbow blood". Especially as Americans, our challenge is to understand our true relationship to each other. I've always conceived of the Rainbow as actually being a circle. Half of the rainbow disappears into the ground, into an underworld realm, where it exists beneath the Earth, hidden, but present. Like the Corn Mother. Aren't we all Her children? Perhaps, what she gives us now is the means to seed a rainbow vision.

We received the new mask at the time of the lunar eclipse, in May of 2002, and decided it was an auspicious time to consecrate it with our dried corn. As we did, a flash of light went off in the room! At first we thought it was a light bulb that blew out. But no electric lights had been turned on in that room. We looked at each other amazed, and felt the presence of Corn Mother.